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Chris Hatherall - Birthday boy Lampard bored to tears

Published: 22 Jun 2010 - 08:30:50

I loved Frank Lampard's description of a typical boring day for England players on World Cup duty.

He was deadly serious as he revealed what a dull birthday he'd had and how tough it is being holed up in a five-star hotel in north-west South Africa.

I can empathise a little because as a football journalist all I ever hear from mates is what a cushy job I have and how all I do is get paid to chill around watching matches.

What they don't see, of course, is the high levels of stress, the hours of waiting and waiting - only to be told players don't want to speak to you - and days on end working until 3am in a hotel room before getting up four hours later to drive to another city and another media centre.

But even bearing all that in mind I couldn't help but think Frank's birthday wasn't all that bad. It basically went like this:

Wake up 8am, mooch down to breakfast with my mates. A quick game of five-a-side and a stretch before lunch - and a birthday cake from the hotel staff. Just time for a nice massage before a game of golf in the afternoon, a specially-prepared dinner and an evening watching the World Cup on TV. Rang home to get birthday wishes from the family and a quick chat on MSN - followed by an early night and a good sleep before playing for my country in the World Cup.

Tough life, Lamps! If they put that in the brochure I think a few of us would snap it up…

Let's just hope the holiday lasts a bit longer.



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CHRIS HATHERALL has been covering football at the highest level - and Brentford - for 20 years. He has written for most UK newspapers and many overseas through the Hayters agency, and covers Premiership and Champions League football for publications in Japan, the Middle East and Ireland. He covers England at home and overseas, and this is his fourth World Cup where he hopes, once again, to see the trophy come back home.

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